Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Drought & Farmers

Well, I just returned home from a trip up to San Francisco and Berkeley to see my nephew graduate from Cal and to spend a few days in the City. I am one proud Auntie and I had a wonderful time in the Bay Area as I always do.

However, I couldn't help thinking about the disturbing landscape I saw as we made our way up through the Central Valley, along Highway 5, it literally looked like the Dust Bowl (SEE PHOTOS ABOVE, IT'S JUST DUST). A fact not lost on the farmers and the California Farm Water Coalition who had posted signs all along the fallow and brown fields that read "Congress Created Dust Bowl."

Now, unless you live under a rock, you are no doubt aware of the drought that our state is facing. But, I also know that most Angelenos haven't got a clue about the water issues facing our farmers and usually assume that they get "all the water," when in fact this is not true.

So, as usual LA Farm Girl is asking everybody to educate themselves about the real role of agriculture and the real impact to our farmers when these issues come up. You can start by visiting the California Farm Water Coalition, http://www.farmwater.org/. Here, you fill find useful information such as actual water usage by different groups in California.

For example, "The environment uses 48% of all developed water in our state. Ag gets 41 percent and the remaining 11 percent goes to urban use, according to the Department of Water Resources in Sacramento."

As they mention on their site, "Estimates from UC Davis economists indicate up to 80,000 jobs will be lost and $1.6-2.2 billion will disappear from the economy in the San JoaquinValley alone because of the reduced water supplies this year. Along with the economic decline will come incalculable social consequences."

This is already happening, in the town of Mendota, unemployment is 40% and farm workers and their families are now among the hungry and homeless. Pretty ironic in an area that grows food.

You might wonder why you should care about farmers or agriculture, well the main reason is that the water farms use goes to feed us, yes all of us and many other people in our nation. California produces one-half of the fruits and vegetables in the United States.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vote For America's Favorite Farmers Markets

American Farmland Trust (AFT) is having a contest this summer for people to vote for a fave farmers' market. They are (not surprisingly) calling it, "Vote for America's Favorite Farmers Markets." As they say, "Together we can strengthen the local farm-to-fork connection and pledge our support for healthy farms, healthy food and healthy communities."

We Angelenos need to show the rest of the country how much we love our farmers markets and our farmers!

The first step is getting your Market Manager to enroll their market into the contest so they can be part of it!

So be sure to tell your favorite Market Manager to go to the site and enroll, its free and easy, www.farmland.org/marketmanager.

"Over the summer American Farmland Trust will be promoting farmers markets to local food enthusiasts in your community and beyond."

For those who aren't familiar with them, American Farmland Trust is "committed to protecting the nation's best farm and ranch land and improving the economic viability of agriculture."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Declare Your Food Independence!

As regular readers know, I have been a big supporter of Roger Doiron and his Kitchen Gardener's International for a long time and was very happy that his "Eat the View" Campaign succeeded in getting the Obamas to plant an edible garden on the front lawn of the White House.

So, I am here to help spread the word about their latest endeavor, it's a new campaign, "Declare your Food Independence this July 4th" with the goal of keeping the momentum going, " this spring and summer by reinventing our national holiday meal as a celebration of healthy, delicious, and locally-produced foods. July 4th deserves better than mystery-meat hot dogs and water-flavored beer! Think about how you could make contact with your state's first family about this idea. Locally-grown and home-grown foods are patriotic, so let's not hesitate to wave our colors. "

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Citrus Sunday, May 3, San Fernando Valley

I received an email (thanks Astra) about a really cool event taking place tomorrow, Sunday, May 3 called "Citrus Sunday." This is apparently the 4th annual event. Its a volunteer fruit drive to pick thousands of pounds of fresh citrus to benefit needy San Fernando families.

Volunteers will pick oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruit from trees in their yards or at picking locations and drop them off at participating San Fernando Valley Fire Stations.

For a list of drop-off locations and information on how to get involved check out this site: http://www.cd12.org/cd12homepage/cd12cd12homepage256559506_05032009.pdf

If you have fruit you want to donate here's what they ask you to do:
• Pick the oranges, grapefruits or other citrus from the trees in your yard up to three days in advance.
• Wash them and put them in plastic bags

Sunday, May 3, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.